Life is full of scary things. Things that go bump in the night, things that don’t go bump in the night but should. Monsters under the bed, in the closet, across the room. Crossing the street in the middle of the block. Tigers. Elephants. Guns. Death.
Two different gospels record the story of Jesus taking an early morning stroll through some pretty hefty waves. Both Matthew and John tell us about the storm and it’s immediately after He feeds the five thousand. That is interesting. When we witness Jesus doing something amazing, we get a spiritual adrenaline rush. We’re pumped and primed to go out and do the same thing.
Then a storm hits. Our life’s fragile vessel is tossed and battered by every wind. We are terrified and think we’re hallucinating Jesus. Surely if He did that–that miracle for us, we wouldn’t be in this storm. We didn’t see the miracle, didn’t hear His voice.
But there is someone out there – without a boat.
And everyone needs a boat in the middle of the sea.
“Jesus, if it’s really You, tell me to come…” We forget what Jesus sounds like in our terror and forget His face in our fear. So we put out a wild and crazy statement and it always starts with “if”.
“If it’s really You, do this…”
“If it’s really You, do that…”
“If it’s really You, tell me to…”
“If it’s really You, tell me….”
“If it’s really You, Prove it.”
Oh my soul! There is a Man in the middle of my sea without a boat and we’re saying, “Hey Jesus, if it’s You…”!
Fear does crazy things to a mind and soul–especially one battered by a fierce storm. When your life is on the line and your mind can’t even focus on taking your next breath, because it’s frantic with crazy thoughts that go nowhere and do nothing good. We can’t focus on anything except the fear and making it stop.
That night, the absolute scariest place to be was in the boat. No place on the planet was scarier. Why?
Because Jesus wasn’t in the boat.
I’ve heard it touted for centuries, “Jesus meets you right where you are.” And that is true. We don’t have to get cleaned up to come to Jesus. But there are times we have to go where He is. He wants to take us deeper with Him, deeper into Him, He wants us fathom the depths of His love, His grace, His care.
And we can’t go there if we stay in the safety of the boat. So He sends a storm, and then He shows up in the middle of the night in the middle of sea, and says, “Come. Come out here. Join me in the waves.”
Only the brave and courageous dare to get out. Only the strong will obey. Only those who have decided a scary life with Jesus is a million times better than a safe life without Him. They throw one leg over the side, the boat rocks and tips, they throw the other leg over and they can feel the water on the soles of their feet.
Slowly they take one step and then another. And then when the fear of the unknown threatens to capsize their life and they’re sure they heard wrong because whoa! That’s a big wave and I can’t walk on water, suddenly there He is. Right there. Grasping your hand, shooing away your doubt and fear as if they were pesky gnats.
A life walk with Jesus is a walk on the wild side. It’s not a walk in the park, where everything is safe and you can control it all. It’s a dangerous walk through killer eel infested water, there are sharks and you’re looking like fresh meat. But the riches and the richness of that life cannot be compared with anything safe.
That’s the life I want. I want to live in the eye of the storm.
What about you?